New software to boost NIA in tech-race against suspects

  • Bibhas Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Aug 26, 2015 10:27 IST

The NIA has got a massive tech boost in its bid to track down terrorists and nefarious elements threatening national security.

Armed with a latest software designed in Germany, the elite sleuths could now stay a step ahead of the elusive pack and be a lot better placed to net terrorists and other high-value targets.

The software would help the sleuths listen in on telephonic conversations between the ones they’re after and the heads or fellow operatives of terror outfits that they’re members of. They’d be able to obtain phone intercepts from the day the SIM card of an elusive suspect is activated.

Earlier, the sleuths could only draw intercepts of conversations not more than a month old and call details (of numbers to which calls were made) of only a few years.

“Mobile phones have turned into a critical accessory of crime these days. After an incident of crime, the agency assigned the probe tries to collect the suspects’ cell phone contacts and call records in their bid to cull details on the crime and land leads. We’ve to remember that terror attacks take years in the making.

It takes years of elaborate and meticulous planning for terrorists to execute a strike and get away. Hence, the more we get heads up on their plans and motives, the more likely we’d be to foil their nefarious plans and stave off deadly strikes. This piece of technology would also help us get the names of members of terror outfits and bring them in,” said a top NIA officer, who asked not to be named.

The NIA has its own technology unit, which helps field operatives draw details on a suspect’s cell phone number.

The agency arranged a twoday training programme for some of its field operatives to help them get hands-on with the new software. The training, held at the NIA’s city office, got over on Tuesday. Field agents from other states, too, took part in the programme.

“The terrorists, these days, are making use of advanced technology to execute their deadly plans. We’ve to be up to speed with the latest technology to stay a step ahead of them,” the officer said. Apart from the NIA, the software hasn’t been made available to other leading investigating agencies yet.

The NIA collected bulk cell phone records during its probe into the Khagragarh blast case. “There were limits to the volume of call records we could collect then,” the officer said.

“Since, the NIA was formed to fight terrorism and neutralise all threats to national security, we won’t shy away from using technology if helps us realise our broader goal,” the officer said.

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